An Arizona ex-Marine who turned hero again when he thwarted an armed robbery attempt by snatching the gun from the 14-year-old assailant said he was lucky to survive because the teen's firearm jammed.
James Kilcer, 32, has been making the rounds since his act of heroism was caught on video and broadcast on local and national news stations.
Kilcer was on his way to work at the Yuma County Sherriff's Department when he stopped at the convenience store in a Chevron gas station.
The ex-Marine saw someone walk in the door with a gun in his hand and acted immediately.
In surveillance video released by the Yuma County Sheriff's Office, Kilcer lunges at the suspect - who has at least two other people with him - pouncing on his pistol, slapping it away from himself and the cashier and toward the coolers lining the back of the store
'S--t needed to be done,' Kilcer said. 'I kind of saw what was coming my way and just, you know, I wasn't gonna sit around and cry about it. And I just waited until he took that one extra step and - boom! - f---ing hit him and just instinct kicked in.'
The former soldier grabbed the gun away from the teen and tried to fire the weapon four times but it never went off.
'I felt the round hit my hand and I'm like, Oh s--t. So I locked the slide back and I look in my palm and it was a .22 in my palm,' Kilcer said.
Kilcer then punched the suspect. He believed he may have broken the 14-year-old's nose. He was then able to get control and hold him down until police arrived as the other two suspects got away.
Off-camera, Kilcer said that he was then involved in a struggle for control of the gun in the back of the store. They both tried to get their hands on the trigger before Kilcer eventually won out.
'It was really surreal,' Kilcer said. 'Like, I counted in my head. As all this was happening at frickin' lightspeed I was counting trigger pulls, and I realized I was pulling a trigger, making attempts to pull the trigger, but everything was just jammed up.'
When this Yuma, AZ veteran saw some criminals pop in guns high -- he didn't wait for things to potentially go south.
“The Marine Corp taught me not to [mess] around,” he later said.
'The few, the proud' for a reason.
More on the story on @ABC15 at 10. pic.twitter.com/fGjKthcXvO— Zach Crenshaw (@ZachCrenshaw) October 21, 2021
James Kilcer (pictured right), 32, was stopping in a Chevron gas station convenience store on his way to work as an Arizona sheriff's deputy in Yuma County when a would-be robber suddenly enters
Kilcer said he immediately noticed the robber, who was backed by two others, and the gun in his hand
Kilcer then lunges at the attempted robber, pouncing on his pistol, slapping it away from himself and the cashier and toward the coolers lining the back of the store
Kilcer then punches the suspect. He believes he may have broken the 14-year-old's nose
Kilcer was able to hold the wannabe assailant down until further help arrived from police
He then immediately asked the boy his age, only to discover that he was a teenager.
'It was kind of disheartening to find out he was only 14,' Kilcer said. 'It was his lucky day.'
He claimed he 'held the gun to [the 14-year-old's] temple' like a hostage, in case either of the other two suspects came after him, not realizing they'd fled the scene.
The suspect faces armed robbery and aggravated assault charges, according to the county sheriff's office. On Friday, they announced that they had arrested a second teen suspect in connection with the attempted armed robbery.
Police are still on the lookout for the third suspect.
While it was a split-second decision that could have had a much different result, Kilcer said he'd do it all over again.
'Oh yeah, in a heartbeat,' Kilcer said. 'You have to do it.'
The former Marine has since become something of a media sensation, appearing on various local and national news programs.
A moment from an interview with Dana Perino on Fox News went viral when he finished off the chat with a non-sequitur claim that billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein didn't kill himself.
Kilcer, 32, is a married father and sheriff's deputy in Yuma, Arizona
Kilcer has since had fun with the story, meme-ing himself into a superhero for Facebook
When Perino suggested that everyone should purchase Kilcer his drink of choice, he immediately responded 'I'll take a beer, please.
Kilcer describes himself as a POG, or 'Person other than Grunt,' a term used to describe anyone who wasn't involved in any type of combat.
Which means he doesn't think of himself as some sort of 'freakin' Ricky Recon' hero.
'I'm a goddamn air winger, so, it's like I'm not Steven Seagal here,' Kilcer told one outlet. 'I might be fat, but that's about it.'
While not a hero, Kilcer has said he grew up in a small town in rural New York that had a lot of people around who didn't 'f--k around.'
'I am constantly in a mindset of, If I have to I will.' Kilcer said. 'I take my personal safety and the safety of others seriously at all times.'
He joked to a local interviewer that he was almost surprised at how quickly he was able to apprehend the suspect.
'I hit him and the gun before my keys hit the ground. That's how fast I moved - and I'm a little chubby guy. So I mean, I don't move that fast anymore. I've put on a couple pounds since the Marine Corps,' he said.
When asked what advice he would give his would-be attacker, Kilcer had a simple message.
'That boy needs some Jesus,' replied Kilcer. 'He's going down the wrong path real quick.'
He hopes everyone would go to the extent he did.
'But at the same time, I'd like to think that everyone takes their personal safety and the safety of others,' he said. 'People need to f---ing take control of the damn country and frickin' defend themselves and others.'